An initiative to reach children in Cameroon who have not had a single dose of routine vaccine in their lifetime has been launched. The initiative is dubbed “Reaching and Adapting Immunization Services Effectively to reach zero-dose children in Cameroon (RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon).
“Over 1.3 million zero-dose children live in the Sahel Region and the horn of Africa. [An estimated] 180,000 of them live in Cameroon,” says Junie Flegere, Portfolio Manager for Gavi- the Vaccine Alliance.
“Zero-dose children – defined as children who have not received a single dose of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis,” says Gavi.
According to Mrs. Junie, the ‘RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon’ aims to reduce the number of zero-dose children in Cameroon by 5%, within the period 2021-2025.
Launching the initiative, Prof. Richard Njock, Secretary General at Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health prescribed teamwork as a prerequisite to the attainment of the initiative’s goal. “Put in your best for the success of this initiative and work in synergy to avoid duplication of efforts,” he advised.
He equally noted that despite all efforts by the government and partners through the Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI), many children have not had access to vaccines- compromising their lives and exposing them to vaccine-preventable diseases like yellow fever, viral hepatitis, and respiratory infections.
Against such a backdrop, the RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon initiative is a gamechanger- to close the gaps in the country’s immunization program.
RAISE 4 ZDC is a Gavi accelerator funding initiative implemented by World Vision USA through the African Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP) and a consortium of members, in 12 countries of the Sahel Region and the horn of Africa.
Dr. Ndilta, Representative of World Vision USA, and President of the Board of Directors for ACHAP said World Vision USA, was honored to collaborate with ACHAP through one of its local members- the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services, and Cameroon’s government to implement RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon.
“We wish for a total success of this project- for the welfare of children in Cameroon and Africa in general,” he said.
ACHAP has as its mission “quality health care for all” and is present in over 34 African countries- delivering health care in hard-to-reach communities.
Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, Director of CBC Health Services while presenting the initiative to stakeholders at the launch, said, “it will go long way to reduce infant mortality and improve vaccination amongst children 0-5 years.”
Cameroon is ranked one of the countries in the world with a high infant mortality rate- no vaccination or incomplete vaccination is to be blamed.
“The importance of vaccination to the survival of children is no longer a subject of debate. Vaccination is more than ever important due to recurrent health emergencies,” emphasized Prof. Tih.
“We want to appreciate the support we have received from Gavi, the World Vision USA, ACHAP, the Ministry of Public Health, and Local EPI actors. These partnerships confirm: we are stronger when we work in synergy. Our collective efforts will enable us to reach zero-doze children. No actor can achieve that alone,” he added.
The RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon is part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) immunization agenda for reaching the most marginalized and vulnerable populations.
Gavi has christened this initiative “leaving no one behind with immunization”.
It’s worth underscoring that the CBC Health Services implements this program as a trustworthy health institution whose prowess and outstanding performance in healthcare, and in providing community health has been registered over 50 years and counting. The CBC Health Services implements the Zero-dose initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health in priority regions in Cameroon.